Name: Wario Ware Snapped!
Platform: Nintendo DSi
Ever since WarioWare Inc. was released on the GameBoy Advance, Mario’s arch nemesis has shifted focus from criminal mastermind to irreverent ringmaster of microgames. Since then, no Nintendo system has gone without its share of inanity at the hands of Wario, and the Nintendo DSi’s release seems like a perfect time to bring some chaos to DSiWare. Utilizing both the Nintendo Shop channel and system’s newfound camera capabilities, WarioWare Snapped! looks like the only bit of DSiWare worth paying any attention to, and at a $5 price tag sets a bar for what we can expect from the service.
Once set up, basic mechanics work and should be familiar to anyone who’s ever played any games using a camera. The EyeToy PlayStation 2 titles and the Xbox Live Arcade’s camera games come to mind, and there’s nothing here really much more advanced than waving or tilting. It’s not really full gameplay as much as it’s shuffling around and hoping the camera catches the movement, but it works great in the microgame format.
Multiplayer options, which are doubly as entertaining and doubly as frustrating, are also offered, and stretch the Snapped experience out a little bit. Sadly, there’s a short list of microgames in Wario Ware Snapped, and after a second play through the same few will start popping up again. It’s a tech demo, and in that it’s a success, but it doesn’t replace a full release by any means.
If you’re able to get it working there’s a good amount of entertainment value in WarioWare Snapped!, but that’s a very big “if.” Finding an ideal setting to sit down the DSi for play is a microgame of its own, especially since the .3 megapixel camera has a hard time discerning the difference between skin tone and anything even remotely similar. Even in ideal lighting it’s often difficult to get the game to recognize a face, and there’s some fine tuning that needs to take place before this finds itself as anymore than a $5 download.
Typical WarioWare graphics and sound accompany the games, and help reinforce the ever-present hectic nature. After you’re finished playing peek-a-boo, shaking of water, or giving an old woman a massage, the game creates a short comic strip using pictures snapped during key moments. It’s an act of sheer brilliance, and feels like a completion to the ideas of Wario Ware. It also takes these images and creates looping videos that play during the title screen, adding even more silliness to the already ludicrous download. Sadly (or, actually, criminally), these videos aren’t stored automatically, and there’s no option to save them to the DSi’s internal or external memory. With a 2GB card sticking out of the side of the system there’s no excuse not to save what can’t be more than 100k of information, and hopefully a full retail release will allow for more options.
WarioWare Snapped! might have set the bar for DSiWare, but it didn’t set it incredibly high. The amount of time it takes to set up the camera usually outlives the amount of time that can be spent with the game, and the limited number of microgames included is regrettable. Still, it’s the best legal use of the DSi’s cameras, and for owners of the system it’s worth the $5 spent to show the system off to friends.